I used to get annoyed when someone would send a complete screen shot along with their tech support request. I thought it was a waste of bandwidth when a simple text message would do just as well, and be faster to send, receive and display.

But the thing is, screenshots have their advantages. For one thing, they’re exact. There’s no risk of an error code being mistyped.

More importantly, a screenshot can tell you other information that the user hasn’t thought to mention. This is critical, because the reason people call tech support is because they don’t know how to solve a particular problem…and that often means they don’t know which information is relevant.

Like, say, the fact that they’re running another program which happens to conflict with the one that they’re calling about.

Still, I wish Windows would create a file instead of copying the screen to the clipboard. Users need to paste it into something, so they paste it into what they’re most familiar with: Microsoft Word — something even less suited for sending images by email than a .BMP file created by Paint.